Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online

Camera Bags & Backpacks

I have a couple of questions about the Hukaba Backpack article that I hope you may have time to answer. First, would you know if the backpack being worn is the PSBP-30? I ask because it looks so similar to the PSBP-40 (which I have only seen online). Also, can anyone tell me the difference between the two backpacks? I know this is a lot to ask and I would appreciate any information you are willing to provide. 

Thank you, 

Gary responds: The bag I have is the PSBP-30. It is what is called a unibody backpack while the PSPB-40 is a two compartment backpack. With the 30, I can access all of my equipment by opening only one zipper, whereas the 40 stores some equipment in one section and the rest in the other (Top and Bottom) This link better describes the two bags.

Thanks for the posting about the LowePro's CompuTrekker AW. It was a great review and answered some of my questions about this bag! Thanks for posting. (P.S. I found this with a search on Google for "camera bag under airplane seat")

Gavin Stark

This month U.S. Airways refused to let me board with my old Lowepro Backpack saying it violated their carry on rules (I've flown with bag for years and have never been denied before). I ended up pulling out as much as I could and stuffing it into a cheap carryon I purchased in a store at the airport, and was in agony for four hours until I was able to reclaim my bag and confirm that the rest of my equipment had arrived in one piece. So while in Arizona I did two things - I resolved to NEVER fly U.S. Airways again and I purchased LowePro's CompuTrekker AW after finding your review on Vivid Light. I'm very happy with the CompuTrekker, and so far I've been happy with AirTran. 


Photographing Deer

In regards to Mr. Rue's advice on photographing in Cades Cove of the Great Smoky Mountains. Yes he is correct! It is still a great place to illustrate free roaming whitetails. However, the current management is seriously suppressing clover from the fields and an aggressive aversive conditioning program on habituated non-panhandling deer will eventually have a negative effect for photographers. Yet I'm sure he is aware of the changes happening in Cades Cove.

Thomas Stapleton Kirkland

Nik Color Efex Filters

The Nik Pro 2 article is great. I bought the Pro 2 filters at the 2004 Las Vegas PPA. The photographer that presented the Nik filters at the show used them really fast and with great results. I immediately went to the booth to order the Nik Color Efex 2.0. When the box arrived at my home I was really happy. I downloaded the software and began to try out the filters, but became overwhelmed by the multitude of choices. I hadn't used the filters until earlier this week when I tried the Bi-Color Brown on a photo of mine, with excellent results. I just happened across your article on the filters today, and used the ones that were mentioned. I never used filters on my non-digital cameras and I will probably use the Nik filters sparingly, but at least now, thanks to the article, I have a better understanding of them.


I'm a mountain landscape shooter who still shoots film and scans with a Coolscan 4000. For years I've used filters while shooting landscapes. When used correctly (not overdone) they can have a tremendous effect on your images. I had always thought of digital filters as a gimmick, how can you enhance what isn't there? But Gary's article on the Nik filters and his landscape shots used to illustrate them piqued my interest so I took the plunge. I'm really surprised at how much you can do with them (it's actually a little overwhelming how much is there). The only one I'm no so thrilled with is the black and white filter, mostly because I've got a separate Epson 1280 just for printing black and white and I've got my Photoshop settings dialed in for it just so.

Keep writing articles that challenge my prejudice. Hell you might even get me to trade in my Canons for Nikons - nah, that'll never happen.


Digital Camera Settings

Gary, I wondered if you have tried any custom tonality curves in your camera. I have tried several with some success; I feel it has improved the exposures that I am getting. Have you heard of anyone who has created a curve that mimics Velvia film?

Best regards,
Mike Edgeton

Gary responds: I've heard of several folks creating a "Velvia" look but I can't think of anyone in particular (maybe or Personally, I don't want to be that restricted. I start off by setting my color mode to the II setting, which is adobe RGB (that resembles Velvia somewhat). Then I shoot in NEF (RAW) and set my white balance to Cloudy 0. By doing this I get the Velvia look that I want but with one advantage. Because I shoot in RAW, I can override my color temperature setting once in the computer, if I think the image is too gaudy or unnatural looking. As far as I'm concerned, having total flexibility is the real key to getting an image that looks the way "You" want.

Slides to Digital

In the recent article in Vivid Light Photography, your comments in respect to Slides from Digital and the special adjustments you make before submitting piqued my interest.

I recently found the Slides dot Com page and submitted 4 images for transfer. While I was generally happy with the results, I came to the conclusion that the results were probably due to the quality of my images (some were substantially cropped) and that I would need to perfect the quality of what I sent in.

While I don't expect you to respond to my Email in this regard, I, and probably millions of other faithful readers of Vivid Light would appreciate if you would do an article about this.

Thanks for your consideration
Gerry Ernest

Gary responds: It sounds like a very good idea, and I appreciate the input.

Just Another Tool

This was an awesome article. I do not have a digital camera and had no idea what I wanted or needed. This has definitely given me some insight into a better purchase! 


This article helped to bridge the gap of knowledge between film cameras, which I know a lot, and digital cameras. I find specially useful the lessons about resolution and getting prints from digital images.


Just what I thought. But I did need to be told by another serious photographer. I am not real happy with having to give up my Om2 and many serious lenses as well as flash and other equipment which I will have to shelve. 

Thank you
Thomas Leonard

I'm not surprised at Fuji's findings. I KNOW my slides and prints will be viewable in 50 years, I'm not so sure about my .jpeg, .tiff or .raw files.

My everyday camera is a Canon A-1 with the Canon 35-70, two touch zoom. For special occasions I have a Pentax 67 with only a normal lens. I still buy as much film as I ever did, but, including my digicam, I take more pictures. I use film for the "keepers" and digital for the rest.

Anyway, I think we'll eventually reach a balancing point where film and digital will coexsist, each in its own sphere of use, with some overlap of each other. Digital-to-film probably won't be as common as film-to-digital, but it will become somewhat more common, along with falling prices.

A good, thought provoking article. Long may your light be vivid.!

Jimm Malm

Again McGee shows that he is afraid of digital. OF COURSE digital files will be readable in 50 years. Why wouldn't they be. You're an INTERNET MAGAZINE for God's sake. Why not get an editor who has some background in technology.


Jim McGee responds: Well I was a Computer Engineer for 12 years which included diverse tasks such as designing custom operating systems, industrial robotics, and cash management systems. Some of that work involved real world analysis of issues of data preservation and moving both applications and data from old systems to new systems. As most of us have learned (often the hard way) there is often a huge difference between the theoretical and what happens in the real world. A statement that applies in spades in the digital world. 

I am also backing up all of my photos (four years worth now) onto an external hard drive. Unfortunately program I was testing (diskkeeper - a defragmenter) corrupted my data. What I would like to know how to do is how to make my external hard drive "read only", so that data can be read off the hard drive, but cannot be written to the hard drive. At least not until I want to add more photos/data to the external hard drive. Then make it read-only again. I know back in the DOS days there was a program that could do this - allow the user to make the hard drive read only or normal read/write. If there is a windows program that will allow me to do this same thing, I'd like to know what it is so that I can use it to protect my data.


Jim responds: I never tried making an external drive read only, though a quick and easy way to do the same thing would be to use Windows Explorer (assuming you're using Windows) to make all the subdirectories read only. To do this simply highlight all the directories on the drive with your mouse, then right click on them. Choose Properties from the pop up menu, then check Read Only when the properties window opens. Set them back to "normal" by repeating the process and unchecking the box. 

Translations to Other Languages

I've been browsing through past issues and I noticed that you used to offer the magazine in a number of different languages, but now it is only in English. I think it is a great idea to offer other languages. Why did you stop and will you resume?

Kind regards,

Jim McGee responds: The Web is an International media, so early on we made the decision to try and support languages other than English. There were two translation methods open to us, human translators, which are very expensive if you want to support multiple languages, or machine translations, whose quality can range from good to really poor. In the early days we were using a company that provided machine translations in numerous languages. The quality varied from language to language and even article to article in the same language. But at least we could offer the support. That company no longer exists, and we've tried several others with universally bad results. In the mean time we'll keep looking.

Hyperfocal Distance

Hyperfocal Distance - How about a chart for the Leica Digilux 2 / Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1 (same lens and chip)?

Jim responds: Click on the Digital SLRs tab in the spreadsheet for values that will work with the Digilux 2 & Lumix.

Introduction to Digital Photography

I just got done reading your Introduction to Digital Photograpahy by Frank Phillips - It is GRRRRREAT! I have been shooting film for over 28 years and recently purchased a Canon 20D, as I have just started a photography business. I knew hardly anything about Digital photography and I was about to cry trying to learn about this or that dealing with DIGITAL, but these 10 Lessons (Well, actually I was only able to open up on 9 for some reason?) were so helpful! I plan on re-reading it to really get the gist of it! 

Mar Osborn

NIKAI Cameras ?

Have you ever heard of NIKAI brand of cameras? Do you know of any link to equipment Info?

Thank You for a well run website! 
Richard Herm

Never heard of them. A quick Google search turned up mostly Ebay ads for cameras that don't look like the height of quality. My guess is that these are Chinese knock offs. Buyer beware.



Kind Words

Well done folks. After a lifetime of serious amateur photography, I am still amazed at what I do NOT know about the subject. But I am filling in the most significant gaps in my knowledge with the excellent articles I just discovered on your Web site.

I do not think I have ever found so much information conveyed in as few words. These are among the best articles I have ever read regarding photography. I have come away with practical, useful information from every one I have read.

Terry Long

Wonderful idea. I just learned about your publication and have been glued to it for about two hours straight. Can't think of the best words to express what I think about your magazine, so will just have to say thank you so much. You publication is extraordinary. 

Kate from Toledo.

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